Dating the synoptic gospels
E., cannot fit with a text that is clearly Greek and with a later dating necessary to fit an awareness of the destruction of the temple in 70 C. From the way in which Matthew adapts and supplements the Gospel of Mark, he would seem to have been a Greek-speaking Christian, a "teacher" steeped in Jewish Scriptures and tradition, living in an urban center like Antioch of Syria, who seeks to interpret the message of Jesus the Messiah for a new community in conflict with its neighbors over its relation to a Judaism in transition. The conflicts with Judaism evidenced in the text seem to reflect the dialogue with Judaism as it developed in the decades following the destruction of the temple.Though a precise date of writing is unclear, several clues invite a somewhat confident assumption of the period 80-100 C. The text of Matthew seems to have been used by the Didache and by Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, who writes around 110 C. The Gospel of Matthew proclaims the good news that God is Emmanuel ("God with us"), that Jesus is God's Messiah whose teaching, healing, suffering, death, and resurrection now constitute a new disciple community, and that this Jesus Messiah, with all power and authority, commissions this community with the promise that he will be with them to the end of the age.Framing summaries surround the two major sections, the first one focusing on Jesus as teacher, the second on Jesus as healer of every disease. Framing Summary: Teaching, Preaching, Healing Every Disease (Matthew -25)Jesus goes "throughout Galilee" teaching, preaching the good news, and healing "every disease" so that his fame spreads and crowds follow him. This is the first of five major discourses of Jesus in Matthew (see -29). Ministry in Deed: Cycle of Nine Miracles (Matthew 8:1-)Jesus' Sermon on the Mount is now followed by a carefully structured narrative of three cycles of three miracles: Jesus heals a leper, a centurion's servant, and Peter's mother-in-law; calms a storm and heals two demoniacs and a paralytic; finally, Jesus heals a woman who touches his garment along with a young maiden who has died, two blind men, and a demoniac who is also mute.Each cycle is interspersed with call stories about following Jesus. Framing Summary: Teaching, Preaching, Healing Every Disease (Matthew -38)A framing summary repeats the theme of Jesus teaching, preaching, and healing, but now with a transitional reference to Jesus' compassion for the crowds who are like sheep without a shepherd and who point to the promise of a "plentiful harvest." 4. Second Discourse (Matthew 10:1-42)In light of the harvest Jesus now calls his disciples and sends them out in mission like "sheep into the midst of wolves," warning them both of the dangers and rewards of faithfully taking up the cross and losing one's life for Jesus' sake.But when Peter begins to sink, Jesus chastises them for their "little faith." D.Summary: Healing the Sick (Matthew -36)Even as the disciples' faith is put to the test, crowds flock to be healed by Jesus. Pharisees and Scribes Protest: On Clean and Unclean (Matthew 15:1-20)The Pharisees and scribes protest Jesus and his disciples for their failure to follow tradition.
Matthew's Gospel is important for its distinctive and grand conception of the God who comes to claim and call a people in Jesus the Messiah.Similarly significant is the literary framing of the narrative with the double assertion that in Jesus God is with God's people as resurrected Messiah (see and -20).That presence of God is certainly part of the central confession of Jesus as "Messiah, Son of the living God" spoken by Peter as representative of the disciple community ().Tradition associated this Gospel with Matthew the tax collector, and claimed that its author collected the sayings of Jesus in Hebrew dialect for others to translate.This very late sketchy tradition preserved by Eusebius, writing in the fourth century C. Matthew's clear use of Mark, probably written sometime around 70 C. places Matthew's Gospel later, as does the almost certain reflection of the 66-70 C. war and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (see 22:7).